Low Carb Chicken Tetrazzini: Southwestern Spicy

This low carb chicken tetrazzini is updated with warm, spicy, Southwestern flavor that take it over the top. A creamy, cheesy sauce is combined with tender chicken and mixed into zoodles. Top it with a little more cheese and bake until a crispy, golden brown crust forms on top. Now this is real comfort food!

Cooking Experience Level: Easy. Some experience with reducing liquids.

For this recipe you’ll need: butter, olive oil, chicken breast, salt, pepper, cumin, onion, poblano, garlic, chicken stock, cilantro, cream, cream cheese, pepperjack cheese, Mozzarella, zoodles

Low carb chicken tetrazzini made with spiralized zucchini on an art deco plate. Title image

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I came up with this recipe years ago for my other blog, Restless Chipotle. Of course, for that blog, I made it the normal way with pasta and a flour thickened sauce. I’ve been updating recipes over there and when I saw this one my brain and stomach got together and informed me that THIS was dinner.

It just sounded SO good!

The result was a perfect adaption of my high carb casserole – I had my friend, also on low carb, try it and she loved it, too.

Don’t you love it when a plan comes together?

Zoodle FAQs

Have zoodle questions? I have zoodle answers!

How do you make zoodles?

Zoodles are made with a spiralizer, often using zucchini as an ingredient but other veggies can be used, too. There are inexpensive, hand held spiralizers but I love my Kitchen Aid attachment – it spiralizes the zucchini in seconds! More about that later.

How do you cook zucchini noodles?

You can microwave them, fry them, boil them, or steam them. I find that when I am making a dish with a sauce like this one it’s best to just but the raw zoodles in the sauce and let it simmer for a minute or two. If you cook them too long they will be mushy.

How can I make zucchini pasta without a Spiralizer?

If you don’t have a spiralizer all is not lost. 🙂 You can easily use a vegetable peeler to make wide “noodles” like I did with my low carb zucchini pappardelle.

Can you freeze zoodles?

You cannot freeze zoodles – they turn to mush.

Low carb chicken tetrazzini zoodles wrapped around a fork -ready to eat
Zoodles stand in for the pasta in this low carb adaption of chicken tetrazzini

Southwestern Chicken Tetrazzini Troubleshooting

My Chicken Tetrazzini sauce got watery!

This is an easy recipe as long as you follow directions carefully. It’s hard to gauge exactly how much water is in zucchini – it can vary a lot. Sometimes if you cook it too long it will release a lot of water, too. If your sauce gets watery after you put the zucchini in, take it out and put it in the baking dish. Simmer the sauce until it reduces and thickens up and pour it over the zucchini.

My sauce isn’t getting thick!

If your sauce doesn’t seem to be thickening up you can add a little more cream cheese and simmer it on low heat until it reduces and thickens. Remember to keep stirring!

I don’t like spicy food!

If you don’t want the sauce to be a little spicy then subsitute plain Monterey Jack cheese for the Pepper Jack cheese and leave out the poblano.

The ingredients for low carb chicken tetrazzini are laid out on the counter.
Ingredients for Low Carb Chicken Tetrazzini

Step By Step Images for Chicken Tetrazzini

If you are a visual learner like me it can be hard to visualize how thick a sauce is supposed to be. Here are some step by step images that illustrate the preparation of this low carb chicken recipe.

images of browning chicken in a skillet, removing it then adding stock, then finally adding the cream.
Brown the chicken. (2) Remove to a plate and add stock to the hot pan. Reduce. Add cream and cream cheese. Stir.

Step One: Add the chicken, onion, garlic, and poblano to hot oil in a heavy skillet.  Saute until the chicken is done.

Step Two: Remove the chicken and vegetables from the pan and add the chicken stock. Simmer, scraping the bottom with a spatula, until it has reduced by about 1/2.

Step Three: Add the cream and cream cheese.

Finishing the low carb chicken tetrazzini - a series of step by step images.
Stir the sauce over medium low heat until it is smooth. Add the cheese until it melts. Stir in the raw zoodles, cover and simmer for a minute or so.

Step Four: Simmer the sauce, stirring constantly, until it is reduced by half.

Step Five: Add the grated cheese and stir.

Step Six: Add in the raw zoodles and gently combine with the sauce.

Step Seven: Cover and simmer for a minute or two – until the zucchini is tender-crisp.

You may need…

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Thanks so much for being a part of Lowcarb-ology!
This is the spiralizer that I have. If you buy spiralized vegetables in the store they can be expensive but when you can do it yourself the spiralizer pays for itself in a matter of weeks!

More Italian Style Recipes Adapted for Low Carb

Here are a few of the recipes on Lowcarb-ology that are perfect for when you are craving Italian food!

  • Spaghetti Salad  Fresh and light, this easy spaghetti salad recipe, adapted to be low carb, has just 7 net carbs and 254 calories!
  • Million Dollar Spaghetti All of the gooey cheesy goodness, all of the rich meat sauce, all of the delicious satisfaction of the regular recipe but only 6 net carbs per generous serving.
  • Tuscan Garlic Chicken Tender chicken breast is simmered in a luxuriously creamy garlic sauce then black olives and spinach are stirred in just before serving.
  • Low Carb Pizza Crust Got pizza? Doughy and chewy, it has a really good “bready” texture that you’ll love.
Baked chicken tetrazzini with a crispy, golden cheese crust on the top
Bake until the cheese on top is a golden brown.

Southwestern Style Chicken Tetrazzini

Just in time for cooler weather! This easy chicken tetrazzini recipe is adapted for low carb so you can stay on track and enjoy your favorite, creamy comfort food, too. If you love this recipe please give it 5 stars in the comments!

Close up of low carb chicken tetrazzini. Feature image

small image of low carb chicken tetrazzini for recipe box
Print

Low Carb Chicken Tetrazzini: Southwestern Style

A classic Italian-American favorite updated with lots of warm, southwestern flavors and low carb adapted! Be sure to simmer the sauce until it’s very thick or your dish will be watery.
Course Main
Cuisine Italian
Keyword low carb, monterey jack cheese, mozzarella, southwestern, spicy, zoodles
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 496kcal
Author Marye

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons  butter
  • tablespoons  olive oil
  • boneless skinless chicken breasts cute in bite sized pieces
  • ½   teaspoons  salt
  • ½ teaspoons  freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon onion diced
  • tablespoon poblano diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic  minced
  • 1/4   cup  chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon  fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1/4  cup  heavy whipping cream  room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/3  cup  grated PepperJack
  • 1/4  cup  Mozzarella
  • 4 small zucchini spiralized – about 4 cups

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Grease a 9x9 baking dish with butter.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.
  • Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, and cumin.
  • Add the chicken to the hot pan and cook until pale golden and almost cooked through.
  • Add the poblano, onion, and garlic and cook until vegetables are soft and chicken is done.
  • Transfer to a plate to cool slightly.
  • Add the chicken stock to the pan.
  • Let come to a boil, scraping the bottom with a spatula.
  • Add the remaining butter, heavy cream, and cream cheese.
  • Simmer until the mixture is smooth.
  • Continue to simmer, stirring, until the mixture is thick enough that a spoon leaves a trail when dragged along the bottom.
  • Mix the Mozzarella and Pepper Jack cheeses together. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the mixture for the topping., if desired.
  • Add the chicken mixture, cheese, and cilantro and stir until cheese is melted. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Add the zoodles and stir to cover with sauce.
  • Put the cover on and simmer for just a few minutes – until the zoodles are soft but still hold their shape.
  • Spoon into baking dish.
  • Sprinkle the top with more cheese if desired.
  • Bake until golden, about 10 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 496kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 136mg | Sodium: 706mg | Potassium: 816mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 29.8% | Vitamin C: 45.9% | Calcium: 28.8% | Iron: 7.4%

Last Updated 04/19/2019

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